My most sentimental item is my pair of Yonex shoes because it has endured three years of intense training, its style and design is perfect for me and it was my winning pair. Although it has given up on me, I will never throw this dear pair away.
In 2009, I was walking around a mall in Cebu in search of my badminton sole-mate. I remember ticking my dad off because we’ve been to at least five different sports shops and I still wasn’t satisfied with any of the shoes I’ve seen. When I first saw this pair, my vision was locked on it. I felt deaf, unable to concentrate, numb all over. I have this thing for badminton shoes that when I see a pair that’s perfect for me, I fall in love with it completely and obsessively.
Then were my shoes mostly white as ivory. Its leather was crisp and grand, and its scent reeked of novelty. Its sides were riddled with black and blue strips of shiny plastic, which caught off light every time it switched from angle to angle. Its shoelaces were neatly taut and twisted just precisely. Its gum soles, having hollow areas patterned like a maze, were friction’s comrade and screeched each time they came across one another. Now, its ivory feel is peppered with dirt, and its color metamorphosed into a half-baked gray as though trying to mix two colors but never worked out, like cookies and cream ice cream. Its dazzling sides of black and blue have been perforated with scratches. Its laces are already drawn scrawny and brittle. Its rims have been ripped, leaving it useless and retired.
I would have never replaced my shoes had it not been for its war-trimmed guts because never have I had a pair that wrapped around my feet ever so impeccably. People, including coach, didn’t understand why I persistently chose to wear my battle-damaged Yonexes. My shoes were so special to me because like people continually searched for their soulmates, I had this object-oriented and quite inexplicable theory that I was certain I found mine. Sole-mates, I’d like to call them.
Not everyone will be able to understand my love for this disheveled pair of badminton shoes and its sentimental influence on me, but I will always keep it close to my heart, also almost literally, because of its loyalty – endurance, in its material sense, its service, which complements my proficiency in the sport, and its being the embodiment of my personality.